Transactional Leadership
Is it ever appropriate?

Transactional leadership is contrasted with transformational leadership. It is based on transactions - or exchanges - between the leader and the follower. It assumes that the working relationship is one where the leader issues the work, praises or criticises those who do it and rewards or punishes them accordingly.

The follower has little responsibility, other than doing as they are required - correctly. All works well if both the leader and the follower (are happy to) carry out their part in the transactions as expected.

In contrast to transformational leadership, its transactional cousin makes little time for vision, long term goals and strategies. It is based on stability, hierachy and clear responsibilities.

This approach is more often seen in low skilled jobs, where procedures are clearly defined or where there is little change. However, when change is required there can be a difficult adjustment from transactional styles and approaches towards transformational.

These are my top ten skills that transactional leaders need to be successful:

  1. Setting goals and objectives.
  2. Planning tasks and activities to meet goals.
  3. Communicating with teams and individuals.
  4. Recognising other peoples' strengths, limitations and potential.
  5. Organising work and delegating to others.
  6. Inspiring (motivating, persuading) others to act to meet goals.
  7. Giving and receiving feedback.
  8. Reviewing performance.
  9. Resolving problems.
  10. Continually improving processes.

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